The Dilemma of Hiring Minorities and Conservative Resistance: The Diversity Game

Article excerpt

This paper defines affirmative action in the context of hiring practices in educational institutions and the public sector. It discusses discrimination, gender, equality, and conservative resistance to diversity programs. Cases are cited to illustrate the legal dilemmas of diversity in public and educational institutions. The monograph concludes that an honest debate between each camp would alleviate the fears of white resisters to, and minorities demand for, equality and diversity.

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Hiring of the underrepresented groups into higher positions in the public sector continues to present controversy while the same is true in the academia: Racism and discrimination in America are undeniable historical facts; however, these two evils persist, in disguise, to playing a part in hiring and recruiting of minorities including women. But some have argued that racism and discrimination are just allegations that minorities continue to use in securing positions at places where they do not belong. Though these allegations might affect or be a factor in the hiring and recruiting of the underrepresented, the resisters of diversity question the legalities of deliberate attempts or programs by institutions to reach out to minorities.

This monograph posits that programs to attract the underrepresented to the main stream historically white male positions in the public sector and educational institutions do not favor gender and race as resisters to diversity allege but, rather, an attempt to reflect the composition of the American population in the public sector. This paper broadly defines minorities to include blacks, Hispanics, Asians, Native Americans, and women. The underrepresented groups argue that history has not been kind to them but those who oppose a special treatment for minorities insist that America no more lives in the pre-1960s era therefore all citizens must be protected by the 14th Amendment.

Abel and Sementelli (2004) see discrimination from a historical perspective of subjectivity. That means "oppression and social injustice are often the result of social and historical constructs. All such constructs are addressed to historical and not contemporary conditions ..." (91). So the demand for fairness and equality by minorities is buried in American history and not present conditions while the reverse of this statement is equally true for white resisters. This paper, therefore, attempts to identify the rudiments of both arguments: white resistance to diversity versus minority demand for equality and fairness regarding hiring protocol in the public sector. My interest is in the solution rather than supporting or rejecting each camp's wiles.

Gender, Affirmative Action, and the Politics of Race

Individuals, minorities, and interest groups look to the political process for solutions through gradual (1) and piecemeal remedies. Politics, in such a situation, becomes a means for achieving compromise and coping with social change. But changes in America, over the centuries have come with struggle between minorities and resistance from some whites conservatives. The political process, if properly legislated, works to redress social injustices to improve the atmosphere in which people live and work. For minorities to effect a change in America, they have to go on demonstration to draw political attention. Over the years, especially during the 1960s and 1970s, the federal government paid greater attention to some of the demands of minorities through the Civil Rights Acts of the 1960s. These came as a result of legislations, court rulings, and executive orders in an attempt to eliminate discrimination in America.

Historically, a revolutionary act to end discrimination against blacks, which is one of the foremost goals of affirmative action, was the outlawing of slavery in 1865 by the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution. This was a liberal political thought, which is incorporated in the Bill of Rights. …